Video of a Campbell police officer holding a passenger at gunpoint during a traffic stop in Northern California has people calling for his firing even though the department has come to the officer's defense, reported ABC News.
On July 26, the unnamed motorcycle officer pulled a vehicle over for speeding and asked the driver for her license and additional paperwork.
"Both the driver and passenger spent several minutes looking for the requested paperwork. The officer informed the occupants to wait in the vehicle as he prepared to walk back to his motorcycle to write a citation," the Campbell Police Department said in a statement to ABC. "It was at that time that the passenger began reaching under his seat. It is not clear why the passenger chose to reach under the seat since the officer was not requesting any other paperwork."
During the stop, the passenger was looking in the glove compartment, said police. At one point, the officer allegedly told the passenger to stop looking for paperwork while his back was turned; however, the passenger continued to reach down, said police.
In the Campbell Police Department statement, they said the "unexpected movement" caused the officer to feel threatened and to pull out his gun.
The driver of the vehicle began recording the incident and posted the video on July 29. In the clip, the passenger’s hands remain out and raised while the officer holds his gun on him for nine minutes.
After the video went viral and resulted in outrage from the public, Campbell Police Capt. Gary Berg said, "The nine minutes are unfortunate," but the officer was doing his job.
The department said it watched the footage from the officer's bodycam, which was recording during the traffic stop.
"The officer requested additional officers respond to assist him so that he could safely resolve the situation. ... We understand that it is never a comfortable position to have a gun pointed at you, regardless of whether it is a police officer. Unfortunately, the length of time that the officer's gun was drawn lasted much longer than normal based on his location," the department said. "If this same situation would have occurred closer to backup officers, it would most likely have been resolved much sooner. However, since this occurred on the side of Highway 101 during rush hour traffic, it took an extended amount of time until other officers could arrive and provide assistance in safely resolving the situation."
According to the department, the passenger and driver were issued citations for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. They were let go.
(Photo: Getty Images)